You must accept the place at the school you have been offered, no matter how tempting it is to return the form with ‘Over my dead body’ scrawled on it. You would run the risk of having no place at all in September, and appeal panels will not take kindly to you doing this.
Get on the waiting list for any school which you would prefer to the one you’ve been offered (this can include ones you didn’t put on your preference form). There’s a big shake out between National Offer Day and September, and places become available even into the start of term, as some people decide to go private, or move, or get offered a place at another school they prefer.
Do not rule out the school you have been offered. A bad local reputation can linger after a school has improved under a new head. Go and visit and see for yourself, and also use it as a research trip to find details you need for your appeal. And it may not be as bad as you thought. One parent decided after such a visit that her son could actually do well at a school which had been unpopular, but was now under a new head with lots of support and impetus to improve.
If your child is particularly gifted or talented, you could investigate if any local private schools still have spaces and a scholarship/bursary to offer.
A lively look at education planning for children of all ages and their parents. We guide you through the schooling stages from 0-18 in both the independent and state sectors, and tell you what to plan for and when.
Normal primary school admissions are at 3+ into the nursery or 4+ into the reception class. Some are divided into infant and junior schools, the latter starting at 7 years. Most secondary schools start at 11. For a normal application, you will need to apply – with a local address - by around mid-January for primary schools and the end of October of the year before entry for secondary schools.
What do you want for your child? State school or fee-paying? Day or boarding school? Single sex or co-education? It helps to have a game plan, even if you change it at a later date. What do you want from the school? Undoubtedly you want to find a great school, one that's ideal for your child, with great teaching and possibly good facilities to match.
Pressure for places in the UK’s best state schools is intensifying with state grammar schools leading the way. Popular schools see upwards of 10 applicants for every place. In 2014, almost half of children in some areas have been rejected from their preferred secondary school. Catchment areas are already shrinking as parents who had planned on private schooling join the battle for places in the best state schools.
They may not truly reflect day-to-day life at a school (this will be school at its best) but they'll give you a flavour of what's happening and allow you to soak up the atmosphere. They are your chance to have the upper hand, get a feel for the school and chat with pupils and staff. Do visit more than one school: it’s useful to compare and contrast.
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